Internet Marketing Blog

Online Marketing Advice, Tips & Strategies

How to Manage Adwords Marketing with Fewer Keywords

adwords-account-structureWhile adwords marketing is often a great way to get traffic and conversions in your business, it often becomes overwhelming for the newcomer to manage, especially when you have a great many keywords. You can have better success for less cost using just 10 exact match keywords if you take into account these few tips.

  • Choose short tail keywords for your campaign.
  • Advertise on Bing. The keywords will cost less and you won’t start a bidding war because many advertisers stay in the Yahoo environment.

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How Entrepreneurs Can Avoid Social Media Liability

Every small or big entrepreneur is aware of how their company can grow by monetizing the valuable digital marketing tool – Social Media. Today, it has become one of the main marketing tools for the growth of a company because it offers a superior potential to generate leads and improve rate of investments (ROI). However, social media imposes legal implications, too. Therefore, it becomes important to avoid mistakes that could lead to a lawsuit against you and ruin your company’s image.

One thing that is pretty obvious is that no matter how big the social implication would be with the use of social media, it does not outweigh its benefit, and hence people continue to stick to it. Here below are three legal tips that will help you stay away from lawsuits.

Alertness

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Five Reasons Why Your Business Profile Belongs On Google+ Rather Than Facebook

1. Having your website linked from your Google+ profile gives it search credibility.

Simple fact. Plus if your business sells widgets, and you post to your Google+ account about your widget blog, and your location is known to Google, then when users search for widget merchants in your area, your site or your account will pop up closer to the top.

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Ten Entrepreneurs on What Makes a Good Investor

If you’re seeking start-up funding for your web business or continuing financial sharing to help it grow, you’ll be interested in this in-depth discussion on “10 Views On What To Look For In An Investor” over at Read/Write.

The answers contain a few surprises, but all of them also illuminate some marketing strategies. For instance, one person values networking – she will always “consider the connections that an investor (or anyone else) can bring to the table over anything else.” All of these are refreshing takes on philosophies of business. (Is that even a thing?). Continue reading

Can Advertisers Still See The Forest For The Trees?

A fascinating and soul-searching read at hand over at the Central Desktop Blog, on The evolution of the ad campaign. It talks about how moving the marketing industry into the web age has led to some advantages, but some disadvantages as well. The interesting point is the lack of “big ideas”.

We don’t see those really inspired advertisers that capture our interest. Instead, everything kind of blends into a slick, over-produced corn mush, with hardly any commercial distinguishable from product to product. Take this away – advertising is all about getting your potential customer to remember your product. If your marketing strategy doesn’t stand out in any particular way, your product won’t either.

6 Deadly Social Media Marketing Sins that You Absolutely Must Avoid

There is no doubt that social media marketing is paying rich dividends to businesses that are using it as a part of their larger marketing plan. It’s also given smaller businesses an opportunity to compete against the big players in the niche. Social media marketing brings with it a slew of benefits, but only if done right.

The problem with a socially driven marketing strategy is that there are all chances of it going wrong. If it does go wrong there are some mistakes that can righted, but there are others from which there is no turning back. Such mistakes are like the deadly sins of social media marketing.

Let’s take a look a these sins that will take your chances of marketing success way down, so much so that recovery will be next to impossible.

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Utilizing Different Personality Types In Business

We’re all beautiful and unique snowflakes, are we not? We all have special skills to bring to the table, each of us good at one thing, none of us better at everything. Online marketing blog TopRank has a post on fitting all those snowflakes into one useful corporate snowman. Don’t you love that analogy?

It raises some interesting parallel discussions about how one could use customer’s personality types to market more efficiently. The Dominant customer could be sold with “Our product will help you conquer the world.” The Influential customer could be sold with “Get things done with our product.” The Steady customer could be sold with “Our product is the same tried, tested, and true solution you’ve come to expect.” And the Conscientious customer could be sold with “Our product is made with quality in mind.” Read more website strategies.

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Skepticism About Internet Marketing News

This post by marketing strategist B to B points out that bad research proliferates online and gives you a much-needed pointer on how to sort the correct information from the mirages. We love this quote: “…where statistics are plentiful but facts are elusive.” Yes, it is true, many marketers out there seem to be able to draw whatever conclusion they want to from any set of data. The industry contains a great deal of spin and hype, and very few people calling it out. For web entrepreneurs, be at least a little bit skeptical and do some research before just giving anybody your marketing dollars. Continue reading

Penguins and Pandas and Pagerank, Oh My!

We’re downright nostalgic for the good old days when SEO work didn’t involve so many animal names. here’s the latest breakdown on Google Panda vs Google Penguin and what they mean to you. It’s a great resource and you should read it carefully, because there’s a lot of half-baked theories and general panic going on out there and this post is a smooth voice of reason.

Let’s try to view the Google Penguin update rationally: Keywords are not dead. Even Google’s own webmaster guidelines advise “Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.” That’s all you have to do. Deep breaths, everybody. We’ll get through this. Continue reading

Will Google’s Reign Of Terror Over SEOs Ever End?

Once upon a time, Google and SEO were at a relative truce. Then Google began swatting at black-hat SEO tactics. Then gray-hat SEO tactics. And now, it just hauls off and clobbers everybody, damn your hat color. The latest news on the Penguin update is just par for the course. It’s just getting to where if you’ve ever made page one ever in your life, Google now hates you.

We’re wondering how long it will be until paranoid conspiracy theories develop in the SEO rank and file. Well, of course, that’s “more than the usual conspiracy theories”. Yet we don’t see demand for the old-school black-hat SEO diminishing in the slightest – the more Google punishes some behaviors, the more people stubbornly cling to them. It’s like a battle of wills between a domineering mother and a rebellious teenager.

He’s Right, This YouTube Ad Is Compelling!

You know what your goal should be with marketing? To make your advertisement so interesting that the user forgot that it wasn’t why they came there in the first place.

This post on Content Marketing Done Right is a good example. There’s one of those ads on YouTube – where you normally sit there waiting for the ‘skip ad’ button to pop up. Except, saith Chris Brogan, this ad is produced so well and hooks you so thoroughly that it’s tough to stop watching it. Continue reading

Fascinating Number Crunching On Twitter CTR

Get ready to take some notes, because Search Engine Journal has a few charts up showing stats on Twitter click-through rates. Most of it won’t be too surprising to you – best time for traffic is on the weekend and in the afternoon.

Some of it is puzzling. Tweets with adjectives, for instance, as opposed to verbs and adverbs, seem to do worst of all in CTR. Perhaps instead of tweeting “our new, improved line of Western snakeskin boots”, you could say “check out these boots, they’re made of snakeskin”. See, one’s a description, and one’s a call to action where the boots have a dynamic role. Or something like that. Are we doing this right?

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Google Ratings Guidelines

SEOMoz modestly states “If you’re looking for SEO ‘secrets’, you’ll be disappointed by this post.” Oh, we beg to differ. While it isn’t exactly Earth-shattering or surprising, we found this list of 16 Google Ratings Guidelines to be worth passing along, just because it’s obvious that many of you out there do not know them.

Take for example:

  • Generic Queries Are Never Vital – So why are there so many web entrepreneurs out there fighting tooth and nail over domains like “beer.com” and “vacations.org”? Sorry to break this to you, but most of us expect to find a rather unhelpful domain at a generic.com address, and we’re usually right.
  • Copied Content Can Be Relevant – That’s startling! We’ve had so much bad press about copied content drilled into our skulls that we’re going to avoid it anyway.
  • Ads Without Value Are Spam – Not news to you and I, but breaking headlines to a ton of landing pages out there. We’re guessing they’re all owned by people in third-world countries who haven’t gotten the news.
  • Google Raters Use Firefox – Yay! Not only our favorite browser, but our favorite add-on gets a plug too!

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Strange Search Engine Ruling By United States Judge

In Nevada, USA, a judge has made an unusual ruling regarding search engines. To say the least.

See, Chanel (a fashion and beauty company) was in a fit because counterfeit websites are ripping off their good name. Fair enough. Then they had a court ruling to seize all of the domains (raising an eyebrow here, but possibly justified). But then the judge also ordered “all Internet search engines including, but not limited to, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and all social media websites including, but not limited to, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter” to remove any index listings for the counterfeit pages.

Uh, your Honour? I’m sure your desk in Nevada doesn’t have jurisdiction outside the USA, so what good will this do at all? You’ve heard of a little company called “Yandex”? It’s kind of in Russia…

Is Google Getting Blamed More Than It Should?

It’s hard to believe that we’re still hearing about Panda. It seems as old as Y2K now. Yet here we are looking at another story about a webmaster sore at Google over it. Search Engine Watch gives us a refreshing reality check: Maybe a site drops in Google’s SERPS just because its junk?

There’s also, at the bottom of the article, a handy list of things to check when your site rankings drop. It’s good to keep in mind that sometimes webmasters throw themselves into a panic when they don’t have to. We’ve seen web-workers at lunch with a laptop: They order lunch, hit F5, pay the cashier, hit F5, take a seat, hit F5, and they go “Whoa! We dropped three places!” and out the door they run while we watch their sandwich get cold, or until somebody eats it.

Will Google+ Lead The Way For Erasing Anonymity On The Web?

Search Engine Land reports on Google’s latest move in its attempt to horn into the social networking banquet, where they’re going to start verifying an account identity. The chatter about this one is, surprisingly, more positive than you’d expect. While there are still concerns about online privacy, it seems that web users are sick of something else even more:

Trolls, scams, spammers, sock-puppets, and general fools using the whole wide world for their personal playground.

It is true that the state of the web as we know it does lend itself to a hostile environment. Take the case of David Mabus, a Canadian who made a career out of sending thousands of threatening emails and IMs to everyone he saw on the web for more than ten years. He has just now been arrested. If you were on any side of an issue opposite him, chances are you were threatened under one of his many accounts.

Or take Sanford Wallace, the notorious “spam king” of Facebook, who’s now in US authority custody and looking to serve about 40 years.

Can we really measure how much human misery these people cause? Making everybody online have to carry an ID badge may not be the perfect solution, but we just might be ready to sit back and give it a try.

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How Google+ Could Change The Rules Of the SEO Game

In the film Minority Report, we see that advertising in the future is triggered by iris scanners who identify you by eye pattern and use that to have talking billboards address you by name. Our present is getting closer and closer to that science fiction scenario!

The latest musing on Google+ is over at SEO Chat, which asks How Google Plus Could Change SEO. There’s a list of features which Google+ adds, each of which have the handy side effect of offering more targeted advertising. Briefly, the list is:

circles – tracks influencers

+1 button – tells user’s likes

sparks – shares interests

profile data – nothing new there

hangouts – group chats, could be targeted for more keyword focus

location data – get to know the potential customers in your area, anyone?

photos – soon to be crawled with facial recognition software
It’s coming! We can almost hear the hologram billboards at the subway terminal: “Jon Anderton! You could use a Guinness right now!”  Continue reading

Have You Felt The Wrath Of The Panda Yet?

SEO bloggers were abuzz only a few months ago about the mighty Google update. Nicknamed “Panda”, this was the update that was to limit the ranking of low-quality text-farm type sites that clog search results. The new update valid about June of 2011 is Panda 2.2, and Search Engine Roundtable has the dirt on that.

Now, they didn’t specifically come out and say content farms… but it’s pretty clear that they were looking in their direction.

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Don’t Panic – Whether You’re Hitch-hiking the Galaxy or Optimizing a Website

We love posts like this that explore the human side of computer-human interactions. In Clients Who Panic – Tips on Calming Their Nerves, some deep Zen is offered to combat the nervous feeling that search engine spiders and other websites are plotting against you.

Because, they are, you know! While you sleep, other webmasters around the globe are spending the night whittling away at your PageRank… they wants it for themselves, the greedy hobbitses…

Those sudden drops in the rankings especially leave an acid pit in your stomach. But the fact is, Google keeps its algorithms secret, and as long as the process is closed, there’s going to be some anxiety. Anyway, changing site rankings are just a fact of life in the SEO game. That’s kind of also why it’s such a fascinating business.

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Are Good Guys Destined to Finish Last?

A very sobering blog post up at SearchEngineWatch, White Hats: This is Why You’re Getting Beaten, about how the bad guys are mopping the floor with the good guys.

(and is anybody else getting tired of the hat metaphor?)

Anyway, as good a point as is made there, we’d like to ask, “Is it really that way?” Because here’s the thing: attracting traffic to your website is all about converting sellers, via ads and point of sale. No matter what, that’s the goal.

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If You Were Google’s CEO For A Day…

A fun bit of engagement over at Matt Cutt’s pad, asking What would you do if you were CEO of Google?. Cutts admits that he’d think in terms of big projects – starry eyed dreamer, and hey, nothing wrong with that. The comments also have a ball with this bit of day-dreaming.

But we’re the boring old practical idealist. In Eric Schmidt’s shoes, we’d either (a) put even more guns into Android than it has already, or (b) modify a Linux into a desktop OS and push it to compete head-to-head with Microsoft.

Seriously, we’re tired of Microsoft owning the world with a small pocket for Apple and the rest is brave, tiny mites like Linux and BSD up against the Redmond Sauron. We’d just like to see somebody stand up to MS, just so we know its possible. Even if we still use Windows anyway, it would be nice knowing an alternative was ready.

Thinking Like a Google Engineer

How often we, in the web SEO business, chase down every rumor and scrap of information about search engine optimization, especially for Google. How seldom we get it straight from the horse’s mouth. Ok so most SEO consultants will know him, but for those that don’t – may we introduce Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO, a blog by a bona-fide Google engineer.

Chock-full of SEO wisdom, this candid blog should be mandatory reading for every budding web entrepreneur. A great example is the glossary section, with some down-and-dirty dirt on breaking a URL into its component parts, and busting some jargon on algorithms. And note, he doesn’t burble on about meta-tag voodoo and link-exchange witchcraft, he just tells you what’s going on!

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What’s in a Domain Name? Maybe Less Than Meets the Eye?

It’s interesting to see Marketing Vox’s reaction to the sale of the domain sex.com. $13 million may sound like a sexy price, but is it really worth it? Vox says maybe so. We’re going to have to go with “maybe not.”

Now, for a unique brand name, yes. That’s expected. Pepsi had better control pepsi.com, and all the other possible pepsi-dot-anythings out there. Ditto for Microsoft, Walmart, Disney, and so on. We expect that a company that big can afford to control its own brand name, at least that far.

But when you get to generic domain nouns, not so much. Being in the candy business and owning “candy.com” at first sounds like a great idea… in 1998. But who, these days, actually blindly types domains into the address bar? We’d bet nine out of ten users today couldn’t tell us where the address bar is. Hoping to hit Google searches is the next bid, but Google searches don’t always blindly follow the domain name either.

Lastly, ask yourself, when you want candy (and you’re using the web to get it), are you seriously going to type in “candy?” No, you’re going to type “Hershey’s,” “Reeses,” “M&Ms,” “licorice whips,” or whatever your specific desire is. Likewise, ask yourself how many people type “sex” into a search box and hope for the best? No, they’ll type in whatever their specific interest is; “hot coeds,” “online personals dating,” “videos of…” whatever their interest is. Continue reading

When Idealism Trumps Profit – In the Wrong Direction

California may be far away geographically, but there’s an issue right there that hits home for every web marketer. It’s really quite simple: Californians are going to vote soon on “proposition 19,” a resolution to de-criminalize marijuana for personal use. Note, we’re not talking about medical marijuana any more, we’re talking about lifting prohibition altogether.

Who cares? Well, apparently some major websites do. And the way they care is by refusing to run ads supporting Proposition 19. Yes, you heard that right. Not for any amount of money!

Facebook, for starters. They recently forbade even displaying an image of a marijuana leaf in an ad. And it’s quite ironic that we have to link to Wired to report this story, because Wired belongs to Conde-Nast Media, which also owns Reddit.com… And guess who else won’t run a pro-Prop-19 ad?

The Reddit reaction is amusing. Reddit users responded to the ad ban by submitting story after story about Prop-19 – with marijuana leaves festooned – until the entire front page consists of nothing but support for Prop 19. We haven’t seen a social-news-site rebellion like this since the great HD-DVD encryption key code backlash of 2007.

Well, anyway, file this under “know your market.” The web audience is a feisty little critter some days, isn’t it?

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Webite SEO Optimization Strategies You’re Probably Forgetting

We all see dozens of articles targeted at the basic SEO strategies for daily use, but there’s a second set of techniques which we rarely see addressed: the needs of a mature website. If your site is five, ten, fifteen years old or older, and regularly publishes content, chances are good that you have pages on your own website that you haven’t even checked on in years.

You might want to blow the dust off of some of those. After all, you’re paying for the server space to host them and they’re all very well-indexed by the spiders by now. As time goes on, various little instances of webpage rot begin to creep in. here’s something to keep in mind if you do revisit those back-roads off the beaten brush:

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Google Beat – A Video Log For Hot search Topics

In a move that comments on just how important search trends have become in our modern world, Google has launched Google Beat, a video blog reporting on weekly search trends and what they mean.

This is quite an awesome little development, and we’ll be watching the Google Beat YouTube channel to see where this goes.

This is one of those defining moments when it really hits you that you’re living in the 21st century. Twenty years ago, web searches were barely an explored concept. Sixteen years ago, the Google search engine launched. Four years ago, the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary added the word “google” to their listings. And this year, we have a hostess doing a video segment on the week’s most popular searches, available through a streaming video site.

It’s a pity that we don’t have an international version – so far they only cover trends in the US. However, Google does eventually get around to including the rest of the world. We could see this going to television. Certainly it is more newsworthy than some of the other technology-related content that makes it onto the telly.

Search Engines That Show You A New Way To Think About Search Engines

Have you tried an alternative search engine lately? I know, as an SEO marketer or search engine marketing consultant, you probably groan every time somebody suggests it. Yes, these other have ridiculously small market share. But just remember, the one to watch in the future isn’t Google. The one to watch is the one who’s going to beat Google. It’s only a matter of time. No monopoly stands forever…

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Michael Arrington Thinks That Reputation Isn’t Going To Matter Anymore

Of course, this sounds like both irony and wishful thinking. Arrington both rides a wave of reputation to the bank each month (Techcrunch), being the only technology news source regularly quoted by Reuters and Associated Press, and dies a little on the sword of reputation each night, with the ugly rumours about his behaviour, his controversy for conflict-of-interest situations, and his abominable accuracy record.

But anyway, in “Reputation is Dead“, he makes a case that since it will be possible to find dirt on anyone, then that will mean that dirt won’t matter anymore. That’s the web of Facebook, Twitter, your old blog, what-have-you preventing you from getting that next marketing job. The counter-argument is that everyone will need to buy reputation-insurance. Continue reading

Internet Marketing – Microsoft Can Now Sic The Law On Its Competitors

We’re really trying not to sound like an end-of-the-world conspiracy blog this week, but there’s just been so many stories of dirty dealings by giant web companies that its difficult to avoid. Now there’s new complaints against Google in Europe, by three companies, two of which have ties to Microsoft.

The Google spokes-lawyer responds: “They were a long-time AdSense partner of Google’s, with whom we always had a good relationship. However, after Microsoft acquired Ciao! … we started receiving complaints about our standard terms and conditions.” Well, yeah, Microsoft does like its puppetry. Continue reading

Internet Marketing – A Blog Marketer’s Checklist

Setting up a blog to promote your marketing presence on the web is just half the battle. Once you get going, you have to keep going. But while you’re at it, be sure you aren’t just filling up space without attracting visitors. A few tips:

Fulfill the visitor’s expectations. – Posting regularly is important, as is keeping the content consistent. You want to draw the kind of audience who make best customers, and tailor your content that way.

Make the most of your traffic. – Social bookmarking icons, RSS feed icons within easy reach, and links to the rest of your site will help turn those one-time visitors into regulars.

Archive. – The worst thing you can do to a blog is make the past content difficult to access. Live Journal, we’re looking at YOU! Ditch the clumsy calendar and – Blogger.com, you too – maybe even the year-month-day tree structure too. Lists are your friend.

Watch the analytics. – Learn and adapt new strategies from watching the way visitors access your site. For instance, you might have a very popular image that appears in image search results. How about adding your website name to that image? Continue reading

Five Recipes For Linkbait

Linkbait is the social web term for the kind of content that regularly gets linked from social bookmarking and news-sharing sites. Think Digg, Reddit, Delicious, Metafilter, Yahoo Buzz, and even just plain blogs. The best link-bait is something that appeals to the lazy nature in all of us. After watching the social web for a few years now, here are the kinds of things you might post to your blog to more frequently get visitors from social sites:

Video – Number one with a bullet. Video content is extremely popular, especially if it’s under five minutes. Consider it for your next tutorial of handy tips.

Images – Especially a funny one. Even a vaguely amusing one. Heck, any picture at all. I’ve followed links to a picture of somebody’s shoes – regular ordinary shoes. But I had to click, because I just couldn’t believe that somebody would just post a picture of their shoes! Continue reading

Could September Finally Be Over Soon?

Once upon a time, the web was a frontier of exciting possibilities and intelligent conversation. Then America Online (AOL!) started up.

The influx of American kids logging in from Windows 3.1 machines completely swamped online culture, and it hasn’t recovered since. And long past the time when you thought AOL should have died, it keeps going, like a possessed Energizer Bunny.

Those of you who count on American customers for your web business, you know you have to allow for AOL users in your digital strategy. They still make up a tiny percentage of the web traffic!

Now Time-Warner is going to spin off AOL after having absorbed it 8 years ago. Amongst other ballast they’re dumping, they’re selling off… wait for it!… ICQ.

It takes a special kind of chutzpah to put a $300 million price tag on ICQ, in these days of Twitter hype. Yeah, sure, ICQ will come back any day now! But for a company that got its start as a game subscription service running on the Atari 2600, and has since survived not only the video game crash but the dot-com crash too, chutzpah is its middle name.

Blogging: Seven Dead Blog Tropes

Of course, every website owner with even a passing interest in search engine optimization has had the word “blog” pounded into them until they can’t take it anymore and started a blog. Now, when blogs were first starting up yonder ’bout a decade ago, these tropes were excusable. but now, many of the things that people were doing with them are now tired cliches. Check your blog to see if it’s suffering from any of those symptoms – if so, it might be time for a scraping!

1. Replying to every comment.
You are right that sometimes you want to engage your public. Appending more of your bright, witty banter to the tail of a good, solid gem of linkbait is the sensible thing, especially while you’re soaking up all this adoration. But when you’re responding to every single comment, even if it’s only as brief as “hey thanks!”, you’re saying two things: (1) You have nothing to do. You’re not that busy. Your whole life is this blog. (2) Your ego is so starved that you’re gobbling up every crumb of attention as if it were the last human interaction you’d ever get.

2. Echo! Echo! Echo!
Too many blogs do this. They take the top story of the day and repeat it, with a link and a couple lines of commentary. Remember the “Balloon Boy?” No? Good, this means you have a life. But the day that the Balloon Boy dominated every screen of every TV news channel for 36 hours before everybody got sick and tired of it is commemorated forever in your blog, post #147, a one-paragraph link that contributes nothing and nobody reads. Or searches for it.

3. I’m sorry for not blogging.
Wow, it’s been so long since you updated that when your site popped up in our RSS aggregators, we had to puzzle a moment to remember who you were. Oh, yeah, that site! Oh, so you just brought us back to tell us how sorry you are for not having anything to say. Well, rest assured that your link is now deleted from our browser so you don’t have to worry about letting us down again.

4. The tag stew.
They’re called ‘tag clouds’, and for a while they looked like they’d be the fad that never went away. But over time, tag clouds have shown their failing: they tend to have two, maybe three really big tags standing out like a brass gong in church, and the rest are all the same-size tiny text links. What’s the chef specialty of the day? SEO BLOGGING on a bed of rice.

5. The Blogroll That Links To The Entire Internet.
We know, you love your friends. And your sidebar gives a shout-out to your homies. And you make mates really, really easily. In fact, you’re such a link slut that you don’t even read most of these yourself any more. If you go clicking through your blogroll and find more than five dead sites, just consider scrapping the whole thing.

6. The image that makes no sense.
Somewhere, somehow, a certain demographic of bloggers came along at exactly the right time in history to get it ingrained into their head that they must have an image in every blog post. It’s in Leviticus somewhere. Even if they make no sense. That text looks so lonely by itself, let’s add this cute rubber duckie to spice up our rant about subway fare hires. Oh, stock images! Accompany a post about SEO scoring algorithms with this wildly smiling woman skipping through a field, apparently wafted to blissful nirvana by it all. And what does this set of stairs have to do with your website management post? You could at least toss in a stair metaphor.

7. The calendar gizmo.
Can we be frank? Calendar gizmos all look ugly and blocky. In addition, nobody uses them. Seriously, put a Javascript redirect in there to log a hit every time somebody clicks the calendar gizmo. You’ll get the occasional hit from a confused indexing spider, and that’s it.

An SEO Expert’s Garden Of Lost Search Engines

Who cares about any other search engine but Google? Oh, OK, maybe Yahoo or Bing. But seriously, every single time you read a website marketing blog, it’s Google, Google, Google. It’s as if it were the only search engine in the world, as far as search engine optimization is concerned.

But what could we learn from optimizing for other search engines? And furthermore, what would the SEO world look like right now if we had one of these companies as the king of search instead of Big-Daddy-G?

Cuil
You’d expect better from former Google employees, wouldn’t you? From its baffling name to its almost-random results to its various sundry failings, Cuil has so far been the Hindenburg of search engine disasters. The reviews have gone beyond mere “bad” to inspiring words like “tragic,” “wretched,” and “bile inducing.” It’s still kicking, but over a year after launch you can still type in the most leading possible query and get back results from the Twilight Zone.

Inktomi
This one could have gone somewhere. Started by a UC Berkeley alumnus and professor and having had actual success for a couple of years on its college-campus testing ground, Inktomi just could have been a contender. It was robustly acquiring other companies and even partnering with AOL at one point with their Traffic Server product. But lo, came the dot-com-bust, and Inktomi ended its days as a Yahoo! acquisition.

Go.com
Probably the greatest search engine name of all time, the URL is still registered with Disney and still acting as a portal. But after Disney announced in 2000 that Go.com would be closing down and laying off approximately 400 employees and even retiring the stock, it was clear that it was not meant to be. Today if you type a search query into Go.com, you’re actually using Yahoo!’s rented technology. Go’s search engine was another victim of the dot-com-bust, coupled with the fact that they were trying to be more of a portal whereas the rest of the world wanted a pure search.

Lycos
Technically still kicking, but everybody can smell the charcoal stacking on its pyre. Lycos was once the hottest search destination on the web. In 1999, it was the most visited online destination in the world! They had a great TV campaign with a friendly trained dog who raced off to fetch your results, usually directed at shopping online. But Google handed them their head. Today Lycos is bought and sold and swapped around like a pile of poker chips. They’ve dropped much of their former subsidiaries. Let us not forget that Lycos was once responsible for Angelfire.com and Tripod.com, making them the Earnest and Julio Gallo of the search world (to use a bum-wines metaphor).

Teoma
Another idea that seemed like it could have gone somewhere in an alternate universe. Teoma was launched in 2000 by a team at Rutgers University, New Jersey. It had one secret-sauce ingredient that gave it a chance alongside Google: a ranking algorithm. Originally called “Subject-Specific Popularity,” this algorithm measured not only a page’s topic, but the topic of the pages linking to it as well, to give it increased relevance in that topic. Teoma just basically ran out of steam and got bought out; its algorithm today survives as Ask.com’s ExpertRank algorithm.

Getting to Know a Niche Market

One of the prime goals for an Internet marketer who wants to market within a specific niche is to get to know that niche. A specific market demographic is likely to have a whole culture around it, and you run into trouble if you get the culture wrong when composing your marketing materials. Leather, metal, motorcycles, and lager will go over big with marketing to bikers, but will flop with selling needlepoint kits to grannies.

One of the most important demographics is the youth market. Billion-dollar advertising companies exhaust years of research into study groups of kids and young people aged 14 to 21, to find out what they listen to, what they eat, where they go, and what their current slang is.

By all means, it’s necessary to become a part of this culture if you intend to market to it. Your best bet is to join Twitter groups, social bookmarking sites, and mailing lists devoted to your target culture and then remain very quiet about it. Spend more time listening than you do talking. Every time you see an unfamiliar term, look it up in Wikipedia or some other source to get the origin of the phrase. Continue reading

Analyzing the Latest Most Profitable Google AdSense Words

Handy little list for all users of Google AdSense, this is a list of some AdSense keywords, and this is the list of the highest-paying AdSense keywords.

Talk about any of these subjects on a blog with a Google ad in the sidebar, get the listed dollar amount every time somebody clicks the ad.

Well, as the site explains elsewhere, it’s not that simple! You have to have original content, be a site in good standing, etc. You can’t just post the list and expect it to do anything.

We ran some data-crunching on the list just to see what the top-ten most expensive words are by frequency:

118 mesothelioma
71 attorney
62 removal
62 hair
52 lawyer
44 laser
43 insurance
43 google
42 life
42 hosting

Clearly, our new word for the day is “mesothelioma”, a cancer commonly caused by asbestos. Construction workers and others exposed to asbestos the world over are suing the pants off their former employers, and lawyers apparently consider it money in the bank. This is no laughing matter; asbestos is nasty stuff and mesothelioma’s primary symptom is shortness of breath.

Laser hair removal surgery is also a big business. With more countries of the world becoming more liberal and posing in a swimsuit for their photo on MySpace, it stands to reason.

Google itself has a cottage industry around it, with experts all over the web who can’t wait to tell you all about Google’s products and services and how they can improve your life.

That leaves ‘hosting’ in the top ten, followed by ‘web’, #11 at 38 hits. Even though web hosting itself is pretty cheap these days, it’s a high-profit business because of the huge volume. Other honorable mention goes to home mortgage refinancing and loans.

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ALT Image Tags in Web Marketing

The “alt” tag as alternative text for an image placed on a web page, has a curiously evolved history.

It started out being the fix for web browsers that couldn’t display images – yes, they weren’t a given for the early web browsers. Just when we thought we could get rid of alt-text, the blind and visually-impaired community spoke up, “Whoa! We need those to read what the picture’s about!” and so now using alt-tags became a matter of accessibility.

And now search engines use them to index images. So alt-text is here to stay. To use it, you would put:

< img src=”http://mysite/image.jpg” alt=”our company logo” / >

And you can go one further and use a title tag, which makes text pop up when the user mouses over it. To see a title tag in action, visit XKCD and hover your mouse over a comic strip. Sometimes it adds to the joke, sometimes it explains it, and sometimes it’s a secret message!

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What if We Had a Global Economic Meltdown and the World Didn’t End Anyway?

Our reigning web entrepreneur guru, Paul Graham, is questioning how this recession will affect start-up markets. We’ve seen a ton of hand-wringing going on over the state of the world market lately.

Here’s the thing that I’ll say which is different from what everybody else says: We’re going to survive.

Yes, believe it or not, we’ll make it! We’ve seen this before during the Web Bubble. Lots of web companies died off in a hurry, but did you ever notice that these were companies which weren’t based on a very good idea to begin with? The hardy companies that knew how to really make money kept going; they even got richer during the worst of the Web Bubble!

Similarly, this recession is hitting some people hard – but it’s mainly hitting the people who were being foolish with their money to start with. Yes, I said it! The millionaires have lost their shirts in the stock market, and the people who treat houses like horses at a race-track, buying them just to flip them, are now out of their investment. But the working Joe and Jane are just going on the same way they always did.

If your income is derived from an online source, you have an advantage that few possess. Your income is not tied to any one country’s economy! You can work with companies and individuals all over the world. Even if the economy in the United States is tanking, you can find a booming market in Canada, and there’s a customer or client. So it is also true for business between Australia and Great Britain. Or between India and Romania.

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Lessons Learned From Twitter Hacking

It’s the kind of story that really gets your attention: Twitter, by any measure the most buzzed about network of 2008, got hacked by an 18-year-old!

With absolutely no skill or finesse involved, either. Anybody reading this could have done the same. You just download a free password-cracker program like Crack, John the Ripper, L0phtCrack, or Cain, point it at a log-in page, and leave it run for a couple of days. It’s that simple.

Dictionary attacks have been used since at least the 1980s, before the World Wide Web even came along. System admins have been scolding users for keeping easily guessed passwords around for almost that long. So the fact that you can be on the staff of a hip, trendy ‘Web 2.OH’ company and not know better just goes to show that this problem is never going away.

Jeff gives an interesting solution on the article: making an incrementally increased delay between each log-in attempt. Not too punishing for the legitimate user, but too much of a hurdle for a cracker. Even better are the forms you see here and there on the web, which check your password for a security level when you sign up.

Finally, if OpenID catches on, we just might be able to get all of the problems with user passwords in one spot, where at least they’ll be easier to kill.

Hits and Misses on Predictions for the Social Web in 2009

Over at Search Engine Watch, I just saw the 7 Social Media Predictions for 2009.

Now, you know we’re all just bloggers here, and my swami turban is just as pretty as SEW’s, so I figured I’d see if I can refine the list by picking which predictions will hit and which will miss.

1. Social Media Continues its Rapid Growth – Hit! Hey, like this is hard to predict?

2. Business Networks Surge as Economic Crisis Continues – Miss. I’ve been on the web since it started, and I haven’t seen walled gardens disappear yet. Companies like Yahoo and Apple tighten their grip, if anything. And do you think MSN Spaces will just help you pack when you move to Google’s Blogger?

3. Many Free Services Will Become Defunct – Miss! The thing is, web server space and tools are so cheap, you basically can run them out of your closet. And Open Source software has been with us since the 1970s. People can afford to keep doing it for a hobby. I can see more aggressive marketing, though.

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